Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rio - A Praia

Praia, the beach, has a magical pull on some people. I, however, am not one of those people. I'm a momentum junkie. Asking me to lounge on the beach for hours while sipping drinks and watching the day go by is like asking me to wear a straight jacket or listen to Britney Spears on repeat.

But, I did find a way to enjoy the beach. By bike. We rented bikes one afternoon and it was one of the best afternoons in Rio. I loved biking through the city streets to get to the beach; all those people to weave in and out of, cars to avoid narrowly, other bikes screaming past you within an inch. Who wouldn't like that :)

Starting from the end of Leblon we rode all the way through Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana. The avenue by the beach has a separate bike lane so its easy to ride aimlessly without pedestrian inteference. Leblon is worth taking slowly, this is where all of the really good looking surfer boys and the women (and men) who watch them will be. Ipanema, home to Poste Nove (post 9) is the epicenter, definitely the most crowded and the most active part of the stretch. Volleyball and soccer are the draw. Copacabana is where you will find the pasty white, out of shape tourists and exhausting numbers of street vendors pushing their tshirts, necklaces and other finery in your face.

At the end of Ipanema there is a small jutout of a rock. Climb to the top and enjoy an incredible view back to Ipanema.

If you're going to the beach to see scantily clad or bare-breasted women, I think you will be disappointed. I never saw a one. Looking for men in small speedos? Strike two; square cuts and board shorts are the rage, particularly with the younger set.

What you will find is that the beach is the social center, its where you will meet the Cariocas up close and personal, and I do mean close. I had forgotten that in countries other than the US and some parts of Europe there is not the obligatory 18 inches of personal space. While sitting on the steps leading down the beach in Leblon a surfer plopped down next to me and started talking. Literally, his wet board shorts were on my leg and his face was 3 inches from mine. It was benign conversation but all the while I was thinking - if you get any closer, one of us is going to need a condom.


Blogger Jim said...

Well it sounds like you had a wonderful trip .... I can't wait to be there in February! :) Looking forward to hearing more!

1:22 PM

Blogger Jim said...

You will love it Jim!

5:39 PM

Blogger lasomniloquy said...

that white guy looks like Sangroncito!!

11:33 PM

Blogger Jim said...

You just *thought* he was stopping in Florida first ;)

7:06 AM


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